We are saddened to report that Ricky Lawson died today spending ten days on life support due to a brain aneurism he suffered while performing his Christmas show at Spaghettini Restaurant & Lounge in Seal Beach, California.
Other musicians onstage that night reported that Lawson seemed disoriented during the show. Known as a flawless performer, Lawson began missing drum hits that the band had rehearsed earlier in the day. He reportedly began rubbing his head and face, calling tunes that had already been played, and introducing bandmembers more than once. After leaving the stage, the band called 911 and Lawson was taken by ambulance to ICU, where they discovered bleeding in his brain.
Lawson had enjoyed a storied career as a first-call drummer for such stars as Michael Jackson, Steely Dan, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Babyface, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Quincy Jones, George Benson, Toto, Babyface, Quincy Jones, and Al Jarreau. As a founding member of The Yellowjackets, he won the “Best R&B Instrumental Performance” Grammy Award in 1987 for co-writing the band’s song “And You Know That.”
In the studio, Lawson chalked up an impressive number of #1 singles, including Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love,” James Ingram’s “I Don’t Have The Heart,” and Lionel Ritchie’s “Dancing On The Ceiling.”
Lawson released his solo album Ricky Lawson And Friends in 2001, which featured such music dignitaries as Gerald Albright, Phil Collins, George Duke, Sheila E., Nathan East, Donald Fagen, Jon Herington, Robben Ford, James Ingram, Boney James, Al Jarreau, Kirk Whalum, and Vesta Williams.